Quotes about animal rights
Gandhi, Tolstoy, Kafka, Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Bernhard Shaw, Dostoyevsky, Mark Twain, Buddha, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Plato, Nietzsche, Pythagoras, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Edison, Krishnamurti, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry David Thoreau, Bashevis Singer even Optimus Prime!
What do these rather sensible people have in common? They all spoke out on behalf of the animals.
As calling the mass slaughter of animals a holocaust is sometimes seen as contentious, and disrespectful to Jewish people, I have put all the quotes doing so at the foot of this list.
A Slideshow Picture Gallery of Quotes
"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields" ~ Leo Tolstoy
"Animals are my friends, and I don't eat my friends" ~ George Bernhard Shaw
"Freedom is the right of all sentient beings." ~ Optimus Prime, Transformers
"Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more." ~ Franz Kafka
"He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man..." ~ Isaiah 66:3
"The wild, cruel animal is not behind the bars of a cage. He is in front of it." ~ Axel Munthe
"If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large." ~ William Wilberforce
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." ~ Albert Einstein
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
"I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us. I hold flesh food to be unsuited to our species. To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. The more helpless the creature, the more it is entitled to protection from humans from the cruelty of humans." ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi
"I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak! Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
“Man, do not pride yourself on your superiority to the animals, for they are without sin, while you, with all your greatness, you defile the earth wherever you appear and leave an ignoble trail behind you" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1821-1881
"Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures." ~ Thomas de Quincey
"One should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world." ~ Buddha
"It is more important to prevent animal suffering, rather than sit to contemplate the evils of the universe praying in the company of priests." ~ Buddha
"There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." ~ Charles Darwin
"The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man." ~ Charles Darwin
"If one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people." ~ Ruth Harrison, 'Animal Machines: The New Factory Farming Industry' (1964)
"Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it." ~ Mark Twain
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man." ~ Mark Twain
"Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he's the one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot." ~ Mark Twain
"I believe I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further." ~ Mark Twain (1899)
“People eat meat and think they will become as strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass." ~ Pino Caruso
"The more I see of men the more I like dogs." ~ Madame De Stael
"I am sometimes asked 'Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?' I answer: 'I am working at the roots.'" ~ George T. Angell, 1823-1909
"I feel very sorry for women who continue to purchase real fur coats. They are lacking in a woman's most important requisites, heart and sensitivity." ~ Jayne Meadows
"Behind every beautiful fur, there is a story. It is a bloody, barbaric story." ~ Mary Tyler Moore
"I just could not stand the idea of eating meat - I really do think that it has made me calmer.... People's general awareness is getting much better, even down to buying a pint of milk: the fact that the calves are actually killed so that the milk doesn't go to them but to us cannot really be right, and if you have seen a cow in a state of extreme distress because it cannot understand why its calf isn't by, it can make you think a lot." ~ Kate Bush
"When a man wants to murder a tiger it is called a sport, when the tiger wants to murder him it is called ferocity." ~ George Bernard Shaw
“You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I'll buy you a new car.” ~ Harvey Diamond
“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages” ~ Thomas Edison
"Flesh can not be procured without causing destruction of life; one who uses flesh, therefore, commits hisma (injury) unavoidably." ~ Jainism
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France
“When a human being dies, there is a bridge they must cross to enter into Heaven. At the head of the bridge waits every animal that human encountered during their lifetime. The animals, based on how that person treated them, decide which humans may cross the bridge… and which are turned away." ~ An Indian legend
"We have enslaved the rest of animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." ~ William Ralph Inge
“The human body has no more need for cows' milk than it does for dogs' milk, horses' milk, or giraffes' milk. ~ Michael Klaper
"If the use of animal food be, in consequence, subversive to the peace of human society, how unwarrantable is the injustice and the barbarity which is exercised toward these miserable victims. They are called into existence by human artifice that they may drag out a short and miserable existence of slavery and disease, that their bodies may be mutilated, their social feelings outraged. It were much better that a sentient being should never have existed, than that it should have existed only to endure unmitigated misery" ~ Shelley
"Never again may blood of bird or beast, stain with its venomous stream a human feast." ~ Shelley
"It is only by softening and disguising dead flesh by culinary preparation that it is rendered susceptible of mastication or digestion, and that the sight of its bloody juices and raw horror does not excite intolerable loathing and disgust." ~ Shelley
“We all love animals. Why do we call some ‘pets’ and others ‘dinner?’” ~ K.D. Lang
"Intellectually, human beings and animals may be different, but it's pretty obvious that animals have a rich emotional life and that they feel joy and pain. It's easy to forget the connection between a hamburger and the cow it came from. But I forced myself to acknowledge the fact that every time I ate a hamburger, a cow had ceased to breathe" ~ Moby
“If you don't want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed or tortured then you shouldn't condone such behaviour towards anyone, be they human or not.” ~ Moby
"Could you look an animal in the eyes and say to it, 'My appetite is more important than your suffering'?” ~ Moby
"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“Recognize meat for what it really is: the antibiotic and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal.” ~ Ingrid Newkirk
"The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; they are the trees and the plants and the seeds." ~ Plato, Greek philosopher, (circa 428-347 B.C.)
"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy." ~ Plutarch
"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love." ~ Pythagoras
"I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly, nor destroy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life, and guard and perfect all natural beauty upon the earth." ~ John Ruskin
"Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them whenever they require it... If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." ~ St. Francis of Assisi, Roman Catholic friar, founder of the Franciscans Order
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)
“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing to the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times" ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
"150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would object to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won't be laughing." ~ Gary Smith
"How can people spend this Christmas season talking of "peace on earth" and
"love" and then sit down to devour someone who never knew love or peace?" ~ Judy Stephens Snook
"We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson (novelist and poet, 1850 - 1894)
"Refrain at all times from such foods as cannot be procured without violence and oppression." ~ Thomas Tryon
"Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes - by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This, in turn, kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year sends out cards praying for "Peace on Earth." - from Old MacDonald's Factory Farm by C. David Coats
"We know that all meat-eaters are terrorists." ~ Chrissie Hynde
“A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk’s bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.” ~ Plutarch
"Murderers very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids." ~ Robert K. Ressler, FBI Serial Killer Profiler
"The animal liberation movement is saying that where animals and humans have similar interests - we might take the interest in avoiding physical pain as an example, for it is an interest that humans clearly share with other animals - those interests are to be counted equally, with no automatic discount just because one of the beings is not human." ~ Peter Singer, Australian Animal Activist
"We have enslaved the rest of animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." ~ William Ralph Inge, British Author
"Living with animals can be a wonderful experience, especially if we choose to learn the valuable lessons animals teach through their natural enthusiasm, grace, resourcefulness, affection and forgiveness." ~ Richard H. Pitcairn, American Veterinarian, Pet Nutritionist and Author
"Most people have forgotten how to live with living creatures, with living systems and that, in turn, is the reason why man, whenever he comes into contact with nature, threatens to kill the natural system in which and from which he lives." ~ Konrad Lorenz, Naturalist
"I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground." (Reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.) ~ Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President of the United States
"Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other." ~ Dr. Louis J. Camuti, first US veterinarian to devote his practice to felines only.
"He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin. Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others." from Acharanga Sutra - Jainism - Non-Vedic Religion of Old India
"Atrocities are no less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research." ~ George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and Critic
"Show me the enforced laws of a state for the prevention of cruelty to animals and I in turn will give you a correct estimate of the refinement, enlightenment, integrity and equity of that commonwealth's people." ~ L.T. Danshiell, Animal Rights Advocate
"The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, helpless, faithful animal race form the blackest chapter in the whole world's history." ~ Edward Freeman, English Historian and Commentator
"Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life." ~ Elizabeth Goudge, author of The Joy of the Snow
"If man is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practise kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~ Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher
"I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs... [they] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty." ~ James Herriot, English Veterinarian and Author
"As custodians of the planet it is our responsibility to deal with all species with kindness, love, and compassion. That these animals suffer through human cruelty is beyond understanding. Please help to stop this madness." ~ Richard Gere, American Actor
"All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it." ~ Samuel Butler, British Author, Painter, Photographer, and Art Critic
"Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don't vote." ~ Paul Harvey, American Radio Commentator
"Cruelty to dumb animals is one of the distinguishing vices of low and base minds. Wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness; a mark which all the external advantages of wealth, splendour, and nobility, cannot obliterate. It is consistent neither with learning nor true civility." ~ William Jones, English Philologist and Jurist
"We are fellow passengers on the same planet, and we are all equally responsible for the happiness and the well-being of the world in which we happen to live." ~ Hendrick Van Loon
"This rage - I have never forgotten it - contained every anger, every revolt I had ever felt in my life - the way I felt when I saw the black dog hunted, the way I felt when I watched old Uncle Henry taken away to the almshouse, the way I felt whenever I had seen people or animals hurt for the pleasure or profit of others." ~ Ellen Glasgow, American Author
"When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble." ~ Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, Indian founder of Buddhism Religion and Philosophy
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader
"Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives." ~ Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian Theologian, Musician, and Medical Missionary
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages." ~ Thomas Edison, American Scientist and Inventor
"To inflict cruelties on defenceless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilised society - reverence for life." ~ Dr. Jon Evans, England
"Human liberation will begin when we understand that our evolution and fulfilment are contingent on the recognition of animal rights and on a compassionate and responsible stewardship of nature." ~ Dr. Michael W. Fox, Animal Activist
"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." ~ James Herriot, English Veterinarian and Author
"The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life." ~ Albert Einstein, American Theoretical Physicist
"Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity; and fashion will drive them to acquire any custom." ~ George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and Critic
"Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist
"I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly, nor destroy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life, and guard and perfect all natural beauty upon the earth." ~ John Ruskin, English Author and Critic
"Our treatment of animals is important to our own internal state. If we are to expand our horizons, to grow to understand what the relatedness of each and every thing means, then our love and appreciation of all life is essential. Our respect and reverence for all living things will be reflected in our own living." ~ Bill Schul, Author of The Psychic Power of Animals
"Many people have learned through relating to animals what it is to care for and accept responsibility for another being." ~ Richard H. Pitcairn, American Veterinarian, Pet Nutritionist and Author
"It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States of America
“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to her who suffers, and try to help her.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
"Love is what extended her life. She had to give it as much as receive it to be happy. Dogs (indeed, all animals) extend our lives, if the truth be known." ~ Diane Bethel, Web Developer of Stuff'n Such productions speaking of Charmin, her American Eskimo who lived 15 years.
"It is not just that animals make the world more scenic or picturesque. The lives of animals are woven into our very being - closer than our own breathing - and our souls will suffer when they are gone." ~ Gary Kowalski, Author of The Souls of Animals
"They say he's a sociopath because they don't know what else to call him. He has some of the characteristics of what they call a sociopath. He has no remorse or guilt at all. And he had the first and worst sign - sadism to animals as a child." ~ Thomas Harris, Author of Red Dragon (other related books by Harris are The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal)
"If a man aspires toward a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals." ~ Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian Novelist and Philosopher
"Our treatment of animals will someday be considered barbarous. There cannot be perfect civilization until man realizes that the rights of every living creature are as sacred as his own." ~ Dr. David Starr Jordan, American Biologist and Educator
"We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature." ~ Rachel Carson, American Author and Marine Biologist
"Every year tens of thousands of animals suffer and die in laboratory tests of cosmetics and household products, despite the fact that the test results do not help prevent or treat accidental or purposeful misuse of the products. Please join me in using your voice for those whose cries are forever sealed behind the laboratory doors." ~ Woody Harrelson, Actor
"The brute animals have all the same sensations of pain as human beings, and consequently endure as much pain when their body is hurt; but in their case the cruelty of torment is greater, because they have no mind to bear them up against their sufferings, and no hope to look forward to when enduring the last extreme pain." ~ Thomas Chalmers, Scottish Religious Leader
"True benevolence or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation." ~ Joseph Addison, English Poet
"A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellowman, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help." ~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian Theologian, Musician, and Medical Missionary
"My doctrine is this: that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and we do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt." ~ Anna Sewell, English Novelist
"Providing food and shelter is not proving love for your pet. Those too, but proper care and protection from harm make the truest sense of responsible pet ownership." ~ John D. Carraway, DVM, enscribed hanging office plaque of his professional motto, FancyBoy and JoJo's Vet
"First they went after the Communists, and I did not stand up, because I was not a Communist. Then they went after the homosexuals and infirm, and I did not stand up, because I was neither. Then they went after the Jews, and I did not stand up, because I was not a Jew. Then they went after the Catholics, and I did not stand up, because I was Protestant. Finally, they went after me, and there was no one left to stand up for me." ~ Martin Neimoller, German Pastor who spent 8½ years in a Nazi Concentration Camp
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~ Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher
"Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." ~ George Eliot, Female English Novelist (Mary Ann Evans)
"We cannot glimpse the essential life of a caged animal, only the shadow of its former beauty." ~ Julia Allen Field (1937)
"The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, helpless, faithful animal race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world's history." ~ Edward Freeman, English Freelance Historian and Journalist
"The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher
"A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives." ~ Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian Theologian, Musician, and Medical Missionary
"Cherish the wonderful ways our animals are models of living life to the fullest, loving unconditionally, embracing the passion within, and being completely in the present moment." ~ Susan White
"I have always felt that the way we treat animals is a pretty good indicator of the compassion we are capable of for the human race." ~ Ali McGraw, American Actress
"You have to love animals for what they are or leave them alone. The best thing you can do if you love them is leave them alone and see that other people do too." ~ Pat Derby (1942)
"What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected." ~ Chief Seattle American Indian Duwamish Tribe
"True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it." ~ Milan Kundera, Czech Novelist
"If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution - and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity." ~ Jane Goodall, Author of Reason for Hope
"Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is...whether its victim is human or animal...we cannot expect things to be much better in this world...We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity." ~ Rachel Carson, American Biologist and Novelist
"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace." ~ Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian Theologian, Musician, and Medical Missionary
"The man who kills the animals today is the man who kills the people who get in his way tomorrow." ~ Dr. Diane Fossey, Woman in the Mists (Dr. Fossey was killed by someone who killed animals)
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards out of men." ~ Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President of the United States
"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of humanity." ~ George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and Critic
"Cruelty to animals is one of the most significant vices of a low and ignoble people. Wherever one notices them, they constitute a sign of ignorance and brutality which cannot be painted over even by all the evidence of wealth and luxury." ~ Alexander Von Humbolt, German Naturalist
"The quiet conscience is the invention of the devil. No one of us may permit any preventable pain to be inflicted even though the responsibility for that pain is not ours. No one may shut his eyes and think that the pain which is therefore not visible, is nonexistent." ~ Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian Theologian, Musician, and Medical Missionary
"You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist and Philosopher
"It is as if life had said, 'I am going to send you into a world of cruelty. I shall make you sensitive to pain, fear, heat, cold, hunger and starvation. In this world of cruelty, I shall make you defenseless. In addition, I shall strike you dumb.' This is the kind of world that animals are born into." ~ Grace Johnson, Animal Activist
"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action." ~ James Russell Lowell, American Poet and Essayist
"Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time will come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come." ~ Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian Theologian, Musician, and Medical Missionary
"To close your eyes will not ease another's pain." ~ Chinese Proverb
"The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one's life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation, and misery on this earth." ~ George Eliot, Female English Novelist (Mary Ann Evans)
"Watching Earthlings is the greatest gift I have ever received. I cannot believe how ignorant I have been in the past. - Bryce Dallas Howard
"These birds and animals and fish cannot speak, but they can suffer, and our God who created them, knows their sufferings, and will hold him who causes them to suffer unnecessarily to answer for it. It is a sin against their Creator." ~ George Q. Cannon, Animal Activist
"Cruelty to dumb animals is one of the distinguishing vices of the lowest and basest of the people - wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness." ~ Jones of Nayland
"The Animals of the planet are in desperate peril and they are fully aware of this. No less than human beings are doing in all parts of the world, they are seeking sanctuary." ~ Alice Walker, "Selected Writings," Living by the Word
"I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil." ~ Dr. Charles Mayo, Founder of the Mayo Clinic
"My body will not be a tomb for other creatures." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci
"Those who don't hesitate to vivisect won't hesitate to lie about it." ~ George Bernard Shaw
“But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.” ~ Plutarch
“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
"Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
“Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.” ~ Samuel Butler, Note-Books, 1912
“We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them -- exploiting animals in the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.” ~ Cesar Chavez
“Stain with its venomous stream a human feast,
To the pure skies in accusation steaming" ~ Shelley
“One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
"Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to This Day." ~ Sanskrit Proverb
"Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher
"Life is life's greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life's scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest." ~ Lloyd Biggle Jr.
"One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"It is totally unconscionable to subject defenseless animals to mutilation and death, just so a company can be the first to market a new shade of nail polish or a new, improved laundry detergent. It's cruel, it's brutal, it's inhumane, and most people don't want it." ~ Abigail 'Dear Abby' Van Buren Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the Consumer Products Safe Testing Act, March 1988
"What do they know - all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka." ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)
"Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other." ~ Louis J. Camuti, D.V.M., First American vet to devote his practice exclusively to cats.
"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men." ~ from a fiction novel written by Dimitri Merejkowski entitled, The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci. Sometimes attributed to Leonardo!
"Man and the animals are merely a passage and channel for food, a tomb for other animals, a haven for the dead, giving life by the death of others, a coffer full of corruption." ~ Leonardo da Vinci. (from "Codice Atlantico 76")
"Since visiting the abattoirs of S. France I have stopped eating meat." ~ Vincent Van Gogh.
"The beginning of mindful eating is the realization that eating meat is not about the meat-eater; it is about the animals who are tormented and killed." ~ Norm Phelps.
"To avoid causing terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from eating meat." ~ Gautama Buddha.
"My refrigerator is full of kale and greens. I can't imagine something greasy, or eating meat." ~ Pamela Anderson.
"When I stopped eating meat, I fell in love with East Indian food - there's so much selection, and they use the most beautiful spices." ~ Laura Mennell.
"Not eating meat really keeps me trim....meat, and what's usually served with it, is a big calorie packer." ~ Olivia Wilde.
"For fear of causing terror to living beings, Mahamati, let the Bodhisattva who is disciplining himself to attain compassion, refrain from eating flesh." ~ Gautama Buddha.
"From eating meat arrogance is born, from arrogance erroneous imaginations issue, and from imagination is born greed; and for this reason refrain from eating meat." ~ Gautama Buddha.
"If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat." ~ Paul McCartney.
"It's never really been that hard for me. I've never had any desire to eat meat. In fact, when I was a kid I would have a really difficult time eating meat at all." ~ Tobey Maguire.
"If one of the arguments against eating meat is to do with cruelty and animal intelligence, then lab meat avoids that. There's also the environmental argument for it." Margaret Atwood.
“One farmer says to me, ‘You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;’ and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
"I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other." ~ Henry David Thoreau
"You shouldn't run around killing people or eating meat. That's not what we mean by tantra. There's no need to break the rules." ~ Frederick Lenz.
"I think if you're against cruelty and you look at what happens to animals in slaughterhouses and on factory farms, you have to be completely against eating meat." ~ Ingrid Newkirk.
"I grew up in Texas, eating meat five times a day, and I liked meat. But I began being a vegetarian when I was 19 because I found that I felt better." ~ Dean Ornish.
"I rebelled against the Mormon Church by going to other churches. I rebelled against my parents by not eating meat. I rebelled against my friends and myself by doing drugs. And I rebelled against everything that was holding me down by playing music with these guys." ~ Bert McCracken.
"Well it's true, ever since I stopped eating meat I feel a lot better among animals, I feel I can be much more honest when I pat a dog." ~ Leonard Cohen.
"Eating meat is primitive, barbaric, and arrogant." ~ Ingrid Newkirk.
"Eating meat is not your personal decision, any more than, you know, whether somebody beats their child is their personal decision." ~ Bruce Friedrich.
"To avoid causing terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from eating meat... the food of the wise is that which is consumed by the sadhus [holymen]; it does not consist of meat... There may be some foolish people in the future who will say that I permitted meat-eating and that I partook of meat myself, but... meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit meat-eating in any form, in any manner and in any place; it is unconditionally prohibited for all." ~ Gautama Buddha.
"The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion." ~ Gautama Buddha.
"Initially, my decision to stop eating meat was motivated by fear of spiritual consequences, but right away I found that not eating meat made me feel good about myself. It increased my self-esteem, which I found so rewarding, I wanted to do more." ~ Steve-O.
"Good Viking genes, being vegan and having rowdy dogs and kids definitely keep me in shape. Not eating meat gives me the energy I need to keep up with work, family and travel - I'm very active." ~ Pamela Anderson.
"The meat industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars lying to the public about their product. But no amount of false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals" ~ Chrissie Hynde.
"Eating meat is a leftover of the greatest brutality [killing]; the transition to veg(etari)anism is the first and most natural consequence of enlightenment." ~ Leo Tolstoy.
"I stopped eating beef at 13 and stopped eating all meat a few years ago. I would feel guilty that what was on my plate was walking around yesterday. Either I could live with that or stop eating meat. I choose the latter, and I'm happier for it." ~ Carrie Underwood.
"Not eating meat is a decision, eating meat is an instinct." ~ Denis Leary.
"Eating meat and drinking liquor are demonic vices. Those indulging in drink lose all sense of propriety, have no compassion or love and become demons." Sathya Sai Baba.
"We need never look for universal peace on this earth until men stop killing animals for food. The lust for blood and the destruction of life will continue to repeat its psychology, the world round, until men willingly observe the law in all phases of life, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’" ~ Charles Fillmore, founder Unity church 1920
"There are many activities that human beings have been doing "forever." We might argue from that perspective that eating meat should be allowed to continue. Men have been raping women for thousands of years; does that mean that it is normal and should be allowed to continue?" ~ Sharon Gannon.
"Do I observe holy days and holidays? Yeah, the ritual is very important to me. It's part of being Ukrainian Catholic. So every holy day we're baking pierogis and not eating meat." ~ Vera Farmiga.
"Most people don’t question the practice of eating meat. Many of these people care about animals and the environment, some deeply. But for some reason-force of habit, cultural norms, resistance to change-there is a fundamental disconnect whereby these feelings do' translate into changes of behavior." ~ Brian Greene.
"Take pandemics. There could easily be a severe pandemic. A lot of that comes from something we don't pay much attention to: Eating meat. The meat production industry, the industrial production of meat, uses an immense amount of antibiotics. We're now running out of antibiotics that deal with the threat of rapidly mutating bacteria. A lot of that just comes from the meat production industry. Well, do we worry about it? Well, we ought to be." ~ Noam Chomsky
"Almost always when I told someone I was writing a book about "eating animals", they assumed, even without knowing anything about my views, that it was a case for vegetarianism. It's a telling assumption, one that implies not only that a thorough inquiry into animal agriculture would lead one away from eating meat, but that most people already know that to be the case." Jonathan Safran Foer.
"If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you could do. It's staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty." ~ Paul McCartney.
"I do not like eating meat because I have seen lambs and pigs killed. I saw and felt their pain. They felt the approaching death. I could not bear it. I cried like a child. I ran up a hill and could not breathe. I felt that I was choking. I felt the death of the lamb." Vaslav Nijinsky.
"Whether it's the Axis of Evil, or the evils of eating meat, it is a concept that has all but lost the impact it once had, because everyone thinks different things in this world are evil. PETA thinks what we do to animals is evil, but I think their overzealous approach is evil. Evil, in more ways than one, is comparable to the truth: definitions vary from one individual to the next." Corey Taylor.
"Just for a few tiny buds on your tongue you are killing live animals, with no sensitivity, with no awareness, with no love. It seems impossible; how can a man who has known love be capable of doing such things? A man who loves his wife, who loves his children goes on eating meat? Impossible." Rajneesh.
"Our ancestors were eating meat over 2.5 million years ago. We mainly ate meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts. We have to assume our physiology evolved in association with this diet. The balanced diet for our species was what we could acquire then, not what the government and doctors tell us to eat now." Lionel Tiger.
"I'm close to being a vegan, but I'm not one, technically. I don't eat eggs, or nearly any dairy - no cheese or milk. I do eat honey, and a piece of milk chocolate here and there. It's never really been that hard for me. I've never had any desire to eat meat. In fact, when I was a kid I would have a really difficult time eating meat at all. It had to be the perfect bite, with no fat or gristle or bone or anything like that. I don't judge people who eat meat - that's not for me to say - but the whole thing just sort of bums me out." Tobey Maguire.
"Throughout my work, my subjects are being told that they must change their diet in order to make the adjustment into the new world. Our bodies must become lighter, and this means the elimination of heavy foods. During the sessions, my clients are repeatedly warned to stop eating meat (beef and pork especially), mainly because of the additives and chemicals that are being fed into the animals." Dolores Cannon.
"Melancholy had crept inside me. Small children made me cry, I got depressed eating meat, old book bindings awakened tenderness in me. Everything was disintegrating. Nothing stood the test of time, including me. Somewhere on the other shore were madness and God, sometimes both wearing a beard. Neither instilled much confidence." Mati Unt.
"We stopped eating meat many years ago. During the course of a Sunday lunch we happened to look out of the kitchen window at our young lambs playing happily in the fields. Glancing down at our plates, we suddenly realized that we were eating the leg of an animal who had until recently been playing in a field herself. We looked at each other and said, "Wait a minute, we love these sheep-they're such gentle creatures. So why are we eating them?" It was the last time we ever did." Linda McCartney.
"By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet." Nhat Hanh.
"Great and good men and women stirred sugar into their coffee knowing that it had been picked by slaves. Kind, good ancestors of all of us never questioned hangings, burnings, tortures, inequality, suffering and injustice that today revolt us. If we dare to presume to damn them with our fleeting ideas of morality, then we risk damnation from our descendants for whatever it is that we are doing that future history will judge as intolerable and wicked: eating meat, driving cars, appearing on TV, visiting zoos, who knows?" Stephen Fry.
"When we hunt or fish, we deliberately kill a defenseless being who wishes us no harm. This is a direct violation of the First Precept. It is absolutely forbidden to Buddhists. As to eating meat, we know that the only way we can obtain it is for an animal to be killed. Therefore, when we eat meat, it is our intent that an innocent animal should die to satisfy our addiction to flesh. And that underlying intention, no matter how well hidden behind a smokescreen of rationalizations will block the growth of compassion and create negative karma." Norm Phelps.
"The SAD diet - (the Standard American Diet) - can only make you sad. Eating meat and dairy products is the SAD diet. It causes heart disease, cancer, diabetes and makes you fat. Raising animals for food destroys the environment. And those animals are not happy - they are enslaved and live humiliating, fearful lives of abuse and tremendous suffering. Billons are murdered every year. That's a lot of suffering - all for no good reason. Veganism turns sadness into joy - Simple Recipes for Joy!" Sharon Gannon.
"I just could not stand the idea of eating meat - I really do think that it has made me calmer.... People's general awareness is getting much better, even down to buying a pint of milk: the fact that the calves are actually killed so that the milk doesn't go to them but to us cannot really be right, and if you have seen a cow in a state of extreme distress because it cannot understand why its calf isn't by, it can make you think a lot." Kate Bush.
“I'm sorry to any of you if you feel that I've guilt tripped you about how you live your lives. The truth is, the way I view the world and the way you view the world are two completely different things.
When you use your Dove deodorant, I don't just smell something pleasant. I see rabbits covered in sores, eyes bulging, hardly able to move with pain. I see monkeys so desperate to rub their eyes but shackled in cages, unable to reach. I see beagles with cage madness, circling day in, day out, still wagging at passers by in the hopes that someone might spare them.
When you upload your pictures of trips to the zoo, I don't see family fun. I see baby animals being stolen from the wild, their parents killed, being forced into domestication so that people can get "educated" on "wildlife". I see animals so depressed that they have to go on medication to keep them from going insane. I see a prison.
When you show me your new leather jacket, I don't just see a stylish item of clothing. I see a cow being forced to walk miles and miles across a hot desert, being deprived of food and water, having chilli pepper rubbed in their eyes if they dare to slow down. I then hear them scream as their skin is taken off with a blunt knife, whilst they're still very conscious. I see their friends watching helplessly, terrified about their own fate.
When you show me your new hat with the little fur pom pom, I don't see anything cute or trendy at all. I see foxes being born into cages that are so small that they're unable to turn around. I hear them screaming as the metal prod is inserted into their anuses, as they're electrocuted. I see them struggle to move, once their skin has finally been removed.
When you eat eggs or products with that even contain egg, I don't see a yummy or nutritious treat. I see male chicks going down a conveyor belt and ending up straight in a grinder, or even being emptied into trash bags and being left to suffocate. I see mothers mass producing egg after egg, in so much pain that their uterus has prolapsed but still being expected to lay. I can see them being loaded up into trucks as they're sent to the slaughterhouse at just over a year old, purely for not producing enough eggs.
When you get milk in your coffee or eat a cheese sandwich, I don't see this as you getting your lunch. I see tiny calves being torn from their mothers, literally as they're first born. I hear the scream of the mother as she struggles to fight for her child, milk still dripping from her teats. I see her being raped, year after year after year. And I see her child, too. I see a male calf, being sent to auction at barely a week old, then being shot in the head to become veal.
And of course, when you eat an animal in my presence, it goes without saying that I don't see an item of food. I see a being. I see a face. I see a presence. I see the corpse of someone very smart, very unique and someone who desperately did want to live. It doesn't matter whether you're eating a fish, a chicken, a turkey, a duck, a pig, a cow or a lamb... They are all the same to me.
This is why I am always posting, trying to raise awareness. This is why I am the way I am. It isn't because YOU are a bad person, it is because my eyes have been opened and unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to close them”. - Mary Nesbitt Larking
"Until man extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." ~ Albert Schweitzer
"To consider yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat is like saying you're a philanthropist who doesn't give to charity." ~ Howard Lyman, former cattle rancher, now Animal Rights and Environmental Activist
Despite, as one person told me; "he reminds me of Tony Blair with all those pointy hand gestures", too many, worryingly, weird "followers" and, disappointingly for me ('cos I so wanted him not to), losing a debate with the more prepared "welfarists", it still seems fitting that a present day abolitionist philosopher have a say...
“Being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan” ~ Gary L. Francione
"If I could make everyone in the world see one film, I'd make them see Earthlings." ~ Peter Singer (author of Animal Liberation)
"People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as man, so artfully, so artistically cruel." ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"Veganism is anti-exploitation, just like anarchism is anti-exploitation. It is a simple message confused by decades of romanticising, philosophising, moralising and marketing (again, just like anarchism). We should not confuse vegan consumerism with the fundamentals of veganism". ~ Warren Draper
"You either approve of violence or you don't... and nothing on earth is more violent or extreme than the meat industry." ~ Morrissey
"Let him not destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any life at all or sanction the acts of those who do so." ~ Henry S. Olcot
“As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour towards creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer – a member of a family perished in the Holocaust and a Nobel Prize winner.
“When I see cages crammed with chickens from battery farms thrown on trucks like bundles of trash, I see, with the eyes of my soul, the Umschlagplatz (where Jews were forced onto trains leaving for the death camps). When I go to a restaurant and see people devouring meat, I feel sick. I see a holocaust on their plates.” ~ Georges Metanomski, a Holocaust survivor who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
“In the midst of our high-tech, ostentatious, hedonistic lifestyle, among the dazzling monuments to history, art, religion, and commerce, there are the black boxes. These are the biomedical research laboratories, factory farms, and slaughterhouses – faceless compounds where society conducts its dirty business of abusing and killing innocent, feeling beings. These are our Dachaus, our Buchenwalds, our Birkenaus. Like the good German burghers, we have a fair idea of what goes on there, but we don’t want any reality checks.” ~ Dr. Alex Hershaft, Warsaw Ghetto survivor.
“Let me say it openly: we are surrounded by an enterprise of degradation, cruelty, and killing which rivals anything that the Third Reich was capable of, indeed dwarfs it, in that ours is an enterprise without end, self-regenerating, bringing rabbits, rats, poultry, livestock ceaselessly into the world for the purpose of killing them.” ~ John Maxwell Coetzee, Nobel Award Winner in Literature.
"Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.” ~ Theodor W. Adorno
“ ‘Never again’ is not about what others shouldn’t do to us. It’s about what we shouldn’t do to others. ‘Never again’ means that we must never again perpetrate mass atrocities against other living beings. That we must never again raise animals for food or any other form of exploitation.” ~ Dr. Alex Hershaft, Warsaw Ghetto survivor.
“What do they know-all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world – about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer – a member of a family perished in the Holocaust and a Nobel Prize winner.
A Slideshow of Quotes More quotes from Moggies: Page One Page Two
More quotes on the Epic Animal Quest website